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Train, diet, sleep

Staff Sgt. Robert Niter III, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, works out his upper back at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, May 22, 2013. Niter visits the gym one to two times per day to keep himself in top physical form. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John D. Partlow)

Staff Sgt. Robert Niter III, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, works out his upper back at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, May 22, 2013. Niter visits the gym one to two times per day to keep himself in top physical form. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John D. Partlow)

Staff Sgt. Robert Niter III, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, works out his chest at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, May 22, 2013. Niter visits the gym one to two times per day to keep himself in top physical form. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John D. Partlow)

Staff Sgt. Robert Niter III, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, works out his chest at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, May 22, 2013. Niter visits the gym one to two times per day to keep himself in top physical form. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John D. Partlow)

Competitors stand on stage after receiving their awards in the Musclemania Lone Star pro show Galveston, Texas, May 18, 2013. Staff Sgt. Robert Niter II, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, won first place overall in the physique competition. (Courtesy photo/James Allen)

Competitors stand on stage after receiving their awards in the Musclemania Lone Star pro show Galveston, Texas, May 18, 2013. Staff Sgt. Robert Niter II, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, won first place overall in the physique competition. (Courtesy photo/James Allen)

Staff Sgt. Robert Niter III, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, spots 1st Lt. Fiona Pham, 47th Logistics Readiness Division operations officer, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, May 29, 2013. Niter not only keeps himself in top physical form, but also mentors and helps other Airmen reach their fitness goals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John D. Partlow)

Staff Sgt. Robert Niter III, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, spots 1st Lt. Fiona Pham, 47th Logistics Readiness Division operations officer, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, May 29, 2013. Niter not only keeps himself in top physical form, but also mentors and helps other Airmen reach their fitness goals. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John D. Partlow)

Food sits on the desk of Staff Sgt. Robert Niter II, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, May 29, 2013. Niter eats approximately eight meals a day to keep his metabolism high. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John D. Partlow)

Food sits on the desk of Staff Sgt. Robert Niter II, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, May 29, 2013. Niter eats approximately eight meals a day to keep his metabolism high. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John D. Partlow)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- In the early morning, the sun hides behind the horizon. Life at Laughlin is still except for few members working out at the Losano Fitness Center. By 5:30 a.m., one member's skin takes on a polished look as he sweats through his undershirt in reaction to his brutal workout. He fills the gym with the sound of a steady clank as he works like an artist on his latest master piece: his body.

"Working out is an art to me," said Staff Sgt. Robert Niter III, 47th Medical Operations Squadron NCO in charge of optometry. "I'm able to mold and shape my body according to what muscles I strengthen and what foods I eat. I'm constantly sculpting myself to what I want to look like."

Niter, an Army brat and nine year Air Force veteran, has been a regular at the gym for almost seven years, but he didn't get serious about bodybuilding until a year and a half ago.

"I have always been into fitness," said Niter. "The better I got at it, the more I wanted to grow and compete. Competing in body building competitions allows me to take something I love to the next level."

Going to the next level includes eating right, a task Niter accomplishes by eating portioned meals of protein, grains, fruits and vegetables at home and work.

"I eat at my desk every day to keep my metabolism constantly working," said Niter. "If my body doesn't get the right type or amount of fuel each day, then I'll run out of gas when it's gym time."

Recently, Niter competed in the Musclemania Lone Star pro show, a competition where contestants are judged on their physique, photogenic qualities and apparel.

"I was ecstatic when I found out I won first place overall," said Niter. "I felt blessed and thankful for everyone that supported me along the way."

Besides winning competitions, Niter keeps his physique in top form for other reasons.

"Being healthy fills the Air Force's fitness standard, and it allows me to be a role model to other airmen," said Niter.

Though he regularly trains to compete, Niter also works out to gain expertise to pass on to other airmen in the hopes of creating a healthier Air Force.

"He tailored a five day work out plan and spent about two weeks with me providing one-on-one training to ensure I was comfortable with the weights and exercises," said 1st Lt. Fiona Pham, 47th Logistics Readiness Division operations officer. "I've gained confidence in the gym because I've got a champ for a trainer who continually motivates me and encourages me to challenge myself further."

Like clay needs the perfect amount of water, pressure and heat to form it into an artist's vision, sculpting the body needs a fair amount of its own elements.

"Train, diet and sleep," said Niter. "That is the winning formula to being stronger, and most importantly, being healthier."

Once the day's work is done, Niter returns to his art studio, the gym, overflowing with patrons. With patience and precision, he meticulously chooses each workout to best suit his needs, almost oblivious to the other occupants and the loud sounds that now fill the area. It's just another day for Niter, and until the next morning, Niter will simply apply the finishing touches on his masterpiece, one repetition at a time.